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Promised program becomes a reality

September 23rd, 2010

Sept. 17 marked the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Coburn Bicycle Co-op. Along with University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld, members of the John Carroll community gathered in the Lombardo Student Center for the ceremony.

The vision of late Professor Miles Coburn of the biology department has become a reality thanks to the dedication of JCU’s Environmental Issues Group (EIG) and members of the University Heights community. Coburn, an environmentalist and dedicated cyclist, was killed in a biking accident during the summer of 2008.

The University Heights Police Department donated 18 refurbished bicycles to the cause. A grant from the Student Union and funding from Student Affairs and Coburn’s family went into forming the program. 

Due to liability issues this project took a lot of time and effort on the part of junior Alex Valigosky, president of JCU’s Environmental Issues Group, and Christopher Shiel, EIG’s faculty adviser.

“It was a long time coming,” Valigosky said. “It sounds like a lot of people are going to be into it on campus. I think it will be big.”

The mission of the Bicycle Co-op is to encourage faculty and students to ride bikes to campus rather than drive. This will cut down on traffic in and around the University. The program also helps reduce the University’s carbon footprint. Mayor Infeld, who cut the ribbon at Friday’s ceremony, took a moment to reflect on the project.

“The Bicycle Co-op program is a wonderful tribute to Dr. Coburn,” she said. “He was someone I knew as a teacher and an avid bicyclist. Miles would be happy to know that there is this program to help encourage exercise.”

Joe Saffell, a freshman, said, “I think this [program] is a really good idea. I can’t wait to show my JCU pride riding around campus. Plus, it’s good for the environment.”

The program is supervised by EIG and worked by volunteers. Those who dedicate their time to the cause help maintain the upkeep of the bicycles.

Ryan Stargell, a volunteer for the Co-op, said, “I love bikes in general. Having the opportunity to work on bikes is really fun. If I can help others to start riding too, that would be really cool.”

Bicycles will be available for students and faculty members to rent free of charge. Helmets, locks and bicycles are available to be checked out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day outside the entrance to the Johnson Natatorium, near the Rec Desk. The bicycles can be rented for 24 hours during the week or for the entire weekend. 

In order for a student to checkout a bike, he or she must provide his or her Carroll Card and Banner I.D. code. Participants must sign a liability agreement before the bike can be released. The Coburn Bicycle Co-op is not available to alumni or those with a courtesy card or family membership.